Mount Sinai embraces on-line technology in retention and recruitment

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Mount Sinai Hospital is getting high-tech when it comes to keeping and attracting the best team possible – and then tapping their invaluable knowledge to make the best decisions for its patients and staff.

With more than 4,000 employees and 500 physicians, the team working in the hospital’s Organizational Development and Strategic Projects portfolio knows the meaning of the word busy.

Embracing Web-based technology is one of the ways Mount Sinai is carrying out a range of organizational development activities to attract and keep the best team possible.

With an average of more than 20,000 job applications a year, the challenge is processing that number of applicants in a timely fashion while matching appropriate candidates with the corresponding job postings. The sheer volume of applications and subsequent processing can lead to delays in interviewing and, in some instances, risks of losing a good candidate all together.

Because Mount Sinai wants to attract the best physicians, scientists, clinicians and support staff, the hospital sourced a Web-based application tracking system as a means of streamlining the application process and reducing the time and manual effort associated with the application process, explains Leslie Rodgers, Director of Human Resources.

While applicants can apply for jobs on-line, they can also register and maintain their own profiles to seek their dream position. Once in the database, the software helps to match applicants’ profiles with current job criteria, enabling recruiters to draw from a large talent pool of past and present applicants, leading to quicker contact with the applicant and a more efficient hiring process.

“Attracting and hiring the best possible talent is our ultimate goal,” said Rodgers. By adopting an on-line application system that automates the initial screening process, it is user friendly for applicants and frees up recruiters to concentrate on ensuring the right candidates are chosen for interviews.”

“First impressions are lasting ones, and being able to process applications from beginning to end in a timely manner demonstrates to candidates that we are a serious organization that values its people and focuses on them right from the start,” said Rodgers.

Creating a culture of communication where two-way dialogue between staff and management also plays an essential role at Mount Sinai. It’s key to ensuring those bright employees feed back into the decision-making process and that their voices are heard.

While Mount Sinai has several direct on-line Intranet links between staff and its leadership, including “Connecting with Joseph”, an opportunity to personally interact on-line with Joseph Mapa, President and CEO, the hospital tackled the challenge of gathering massive amounts of input in a timely fashion by adopting an Web-based on-line survey tool.

Mount Sinai’s management is now able to engage employees and receive instant feedback, which helps address staff and client concerns, make necessary changes and create new programs and initiatives. Furthermore, staff who are hard pressed for time or are on shift work can participate in the surveys by logging in from home.

“You can’t underestimate the value of staff feedback,” said Debbie Fischer, Senior Vice President, Organizational Development and Strategic Projects. “It helps us to determine what changes are needed and what new initiatives to undertake, which ultimately helps us to run more efficiently.”

Retention and recruitment in a large non-profit organization also means providing consistent recognition and professional development opportunities to motivate employees to do their best.

One way Mount Sinai uses on-line technology to recognize its employees’ work ethic is through an on-line ‘thank you’ card program. Managers can send their employees this special electronic card if they feel an employee has performed admirably in their specific job function.

Mount Sinai also promotes professional development through a variety of on-line training courses. For instance, ‘Learn for Yourself’ is a self-help education tool designed to improve communications, leadership and supervision, learning skills, and personal growth.

“At the end of the day, Mount Sinai’s reputation is built on the people it hires,” said Rodgers. “Using Web-based applications plays an integral part in the recruitment, development and retention of staff. We will continue to leverage technology as we recruit, retain and develop top talent. We were proud to be recognized recently as one of the GTA’s Top 50 Employers – and our goal is to stay at that level of staff satisfaction by using the most up-to-date tools, techniques and programs.”